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The People of Sunghir: Burials, Bodies, and Behavior in the Earlier Upper Paleolithic

Series: Human Evolution Series

By: Erik Trinkaus(Author), Alexandra P Buzhilova(Author), Maria B Mednikova(Author), Maria V Dobrovolskaya(Author)

339 pages, 254 colour & b/w photos and colour & b/w illustrations, tables

Oxford University Press

Hardback | May 2017 | #235465 | ISBN-13: 9780199381050
Temporarily out of stock: order now to get this when available Details
NHBS Price: £120.00 $158/€136 approx

About this book

In this latest volume in the Human Evolution Series, Erik Trinkaus and his co-authors synthesise the research and findings concerning the human remains found at the Sunghir archaeological site in Russia, some two hundred kilometres east of Moscow. It has long been apparent to those in the field of palaeoanthropology that the human fossil remains from the site of Sunghir are an important part of the human palaeoanthropological record, and that these fossil remains have the potential to provide substantial data and inferences concerning human biology and behavior, both during the earlier Upper Paleolithic and concerning the early phases of human occupation of high latitude continental Eurasia. But despite many separate investigations and published studies on the site and its findings, a single and definitive volume does not yet exist on the subject. The People of Sunghir combines the expertise of four palaeoanthropologists to provide a comprehensive description and palaeobiological analysis of the Sunghir human remains.

Since 1990, Trinkaus et al. have had access to the Sunghir site and its findings, and the authors have published frequently on the topic. The People of Sunghir places these human fossil remains in context with other Late Pleistocene humans, utilising numerous comparative charts, graphs, and figures. As such, the book is highly illustrated, in colour. Trinkaus and his co-authors outline the many advances in paleoanthropology that these remains have helped to bring about, examining the Sunghir site from all angles.



- Assessing the Paleobiology of the Sunghir People
- The Site of Sunghir: Contents and Chronology
- The Site of Sunghir
- Radiocarbon Dating of the Site and the Burials
- The Mortuary Behavior at Sunghir
- The Isolated Sunghir 5 Cranium
- Grave 1 and Sunghir 1
- Grave 2 and Sunghir 2 and 3
- Grave 2bis plus Sunghir 6 and/or Sunghir 7
- Sunghir 8
- Time Investment in the Sunghir Burials
- Burial versus Everyday Clothing
- The Mid Upper Paleolithic Mortuary Context
- Additional Considerations
- Sunghir and its Human Remains
- The Sunghir Human Skeletal Remains
- The Skeletal Inventory of Sunghir 1
- The Skeletal Inventory of Sunghir 2
- The Skeletal Inventory of Sunghir 3
- The Sunghir 4 Femoral Diaphysis
- The Sunghir 5 Cranium
- The Sunghir 6 Hemi-Mandible
- Sunghir 7 to 9
- Comparative Materials and Methods for the Sunghir Remains
- Comparative Samples
- Data Sources
- Comparative Methods
- A Note on Notations and Accuracy
- The Ages-at-Death and Sexes of the Sunghir Humans
- The Ages-at-Death
- The Sexes of the Sunghir Individuals
- The Neurocrania from Sunghir 1, 2, 3 and 5
- The Sunghir Neurocrania
- Neurocranial Size and Proportions
- Sutural Patterns
- Neurocranial Contours
- The Nuchal Plane and Adjacent Structures
- The Temporal Region
- The Human Facial Skeletons from Sunghir
- The Sunghir Facial Skeletons
- Prognathism
- The Orbital Region
- The Nasal Region
- Masticatory Morphology
- The Sunghir Dental and Alveolar Remains
- The Sunghir 1 Dentoalveolar Remains
- The Sunghir 2 and 3 Dentoalveolar Remains
- The Sunghir 5 Alveolar Remains
- The Sunghir 6 Alveolar Remains
- Dental Metrics
- Dental Occlusal Discrete Morphology (S.E. Bailey & A.A. Zubov)
- The Axial Skeletons of Sunghir 1, 2 and 3
- The Cervical Vertebral Column
- The Thoracic and Lumbar Vertebrae
- The Sacra
- The Costal Skeletons
- The Body Size and Proportions of the Sunghir People
- Body Mass Estimation
- Body Proportions
- Stature Estimation
- The Shoulders and Arms of Sunghir 1 to 3
- Issues of Asymmetry
- The Shoulder
- Diaphyseal Hypertrophy
- Forearm Pronation/Supination
- The Sunghir Hands
- Carpals and the Carpal Tunnel
- Hand Length Proportions
- The Pollex
- Ulnar Carpometacarpal Configurations
- Manual Hypertrophy
- The Pelves of Sunghir 1, 2 and 3
- The Sunghir Pelvic Remains
- The Pubic Region
- The Ischia
- The Ilia
- The Leg Remains from Sunghir 1 to 4
- Sunghir 1 and 4 Length Considerations
- Diaphyseal Morphology and Proportions
- Proximal Femoral Morphology and Proportions
- Considerations about the Knee
- The Proximal Side of the Talocrural Articulation
- The Sunghir Pedal Skeletons
- Pedal Length Proportions
- The Talocrural Articulations - The Distal Side
- Subtalar Articulations
- The Hallux
- The Lateral Toes
- The Abnormalities of the Sunghir People
- Sunghir 1 Abnormalities
- Sunghir 2 Abnormalities
- Sunghir 3 Abnormalities
- Sunghir 4 Abnormalities
- Sunghir 5 Abnormalities
- Sunghir 6 Lesions
- Sunghir Abnormalities in their Pleistocene Context
- Dietary Inferences for the Sunghir Humans
- Bone Mineral Composition
- Bone Collagen Stable Isotopes
- Postcanine Buccal Microwear
- The Paleobiology of the Sunghir People
- Populational Issues
- Considerations of Stress and Survival
- Issues of Strength and Endurance
- Some Final Thoughts


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Erik Trinkaus is a Professor of Anthropology at Washington University, who has been analysing the late archaic and early modern fossil human remains since his doctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania. He is concerned primarily with the changes in human biology that reflect the emergence of modern humans.

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